Gilham and Stockton announce 2013 plans

With the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship set for its season finale this weekend at Brands Hatch, a couple of teams/driver have announced their plans for 2013; the men in question being Tony Gilham and his Team HARD squad and Chris Stockton and his BTC Racing team.

Gilham first entered the series last year but returned this year with his own team running a single S2000 Honda Civic for himself during the first half of the season. He has since let American Robb Holland and Howard Fuller drive while Aaron Williamson gets his first taste this weekend.

This is a very exciting chapter in Team HARD.’s history.

Tony Gilham

Gilham secured his maiden BTCC podium back at Donington Park in April and has also raced Thorney Motorsports NGTC Vauxhall Insignia at Snetterton and Silverstone during the second half of the season.

The former cage fighter has now confirmed that his team have acquired both the Thorney Motorsport Insignia that is currently running, and the car that Thorney Motorsport had to abandon building mid season due to financial reasons.

This weekend Gilham will race the sole Insignia, which is running for the first time in full Team HARD colours and said, “This is a very exciting chapter in Team HARD’s history. Having driven the Insignia twice I am very confident there is a lot of potential in the car and, with the extra resources we have, we’re really looking forward to seeing what we can wring from it both at Brands Hatch and also during testing in the off-season for 2013.”

Thorney team principle John Thorne admitted it had been a tough decision to let the car go but they hope to be back come 2013 with an already secured title sponsor and said, “It will be strange seeing our first car racing in Team Hard colours and I will admit we are all a bit misty eyed about it as so much heart and soul has gone into the first car. Its been a tough season for us in terms of racing but our plan was always to develop the car and make it available to other teams, however securing top level partners for next season will allow us to actually race rather than just build race cars so I’m delighted, the BTCC is not the place to be with no budget, this year certainly taught us that.”

Tony Gilham, RCIB Insurance/HARD
Tony Gilham, RCIB Insurance/HARD

Photo by: Pat Cranham

The team hope to announce their full plans for the 2013 season at the annual Autosport show in January.

Chris Stockton had been due to drive the Insignia both this weekend and at Silverstone, but was forced to sit out race day following qualifying due to illness and again misses out this weekend.

However the future definitely looks bright for Stockton, as since Silverstone he has confirmed that he has secured an NGTC Chevrolet Cruze that has been built by RML.

Despite denying it at the time, RML had been in the middle of preparing an NGTC Cruze for the 2012 season before Chevrolet announced their withdrawal. Since then the shell has sat unfinished back at RML’s factory, but Stockton will now run it under his BTC Racing banner.

Stockton first entered the series for the final 2 races of 2006 in a Lexus IS200 before entering a full season in 2007 where he scored 2 points. He then swapped the Lexus for a Seat Toledo in 2008 scoring 3 points.

It’s impossible to take on the best in less developed machinery.

Chris Stockton

Since 2008 Stockton has had limited opportunities, apart from a couple of races in the European GT4 Cup and Dutch GT championship, but now plans to enter the full 2013 season and admits he is very grateful for his sponsors for buying the best machinery possible, which will at last allow him to take on the best, and said, "It is a very big opportunity for my sponsor to buy this car (the Cruze). A lot of development work has already been completed by RML to get to this stage and it is nearly ready to start assembling the TOCA parts, subject to a final inspection by the BTCC this week. Ningbo had the marketing budget in place for 2013's BTCC, but have decided to spend a lot of it on buying the best equipment I can use, rather than running with an existing team. This might delay the first outing, but it is a price I think is worth paying. I've tried competing in older machinery and, without making excuses, it’s impossible to take on the best in less developed machinery.”

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Chris Stockton , Robb Holland , Howard Fuller , Tony Gilham , John Thorne
Teams Williams
Article type Breaking news
Tags btcc, cranham, featured, gilham, stockton